Extreme E

RXR leads Round 1 of Desert X Prix qualifying

2 Mins read
Credit: Alastair Staley

It only took the very first race weekend of the 2022 Extreme E season for a rules change to occur in qualifying. Single-car qualifying comprised the first round, during which Rosberg X Racing began its title defence by setting the fastest total time around the Desert X Prix circuit.

The single-car format for Round #1 of qualifying was supposed to be abandoned ahead of the season kickoff in favour of five-car heat races, which is already used for the second round. However, the original system was brought back for the Desert X Prix and thus each car ran two laps with a driver switch in between. An explanation was never given by series officials, though one can assume concerns with the Saudi desert, which occasionally resulted in a cloud of dust obscuring driver vision, might have played a factor.

As rain began to fall, RXR’s Johan Kristoffersson set the fastest lap time of the twenty drivers at 3:30.222 before trading off to Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky, who went 3:37.156. In total, including the driver swap, the team recorded a time of 9:03.603, which was enough to beat out Team X44. While RXR would have topped the qualifying chart anyway, a five-second time penalty was given to X44 as its #44 car was not fully within its switching station when Cristina Gutiérrez turned it over to Sébastien Loeb.

Three other cars also received time penalties for infractions in the switching bay. Placing third was Andretti United XE, who was penalised for the same reason as X44, with Chip Ganassi Racing right behind. CGR’s Kyle LeDuc hit a safety barrier while entering the bay and was slapped with a five-second penalty. Further back, the ACCIONA | Sainz XE Team suffered a speeding violation in the bay.

Veloce Racing did not complete the session when the car, driven by Christine GZ on lap two, flipped onto its roof which necessitated a red flag. GZ was taken to a local hospital for further treatment of what was reported to be an ankle injury. Should she be unable to participate in the rest of the weekend’s activities, Hedda Hosås is available as a guest reserve driver (the main reserve for female drivers, Tamara Molinaro, is already subbing for Klara Andersson at XITE Energy Racing).

The first heat will consist of X44, CGR, Sainz, ABT CUPRA XE, and Veloce if able to repair the car. RXR, Andretti United, XITE Energy, McLaren XE, JBXE comprise the second heat. McLaren, as the last car on track for single-car qualifying, was automatically placed in Heat #2 to buy time for the car to cool and recharge.

Qualifying results

PositionNumberTeamTotal TimeDriver #1Lap TimeDriver #2Lap Time
16Rosberg X Racing9:03.604Johan Kristoffersson3:30.222Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky3:37.156
244Team X449:10.515*Cristina Gutiérrez3:44.750Sébastien Loeb3:25.489
323Andretti United XE9:14.695*Catie Munnings3:47.273Timmy Hansen3:27.503
499Chip Ganassi Racing9:15.842*Kyle LeDuc3:31.591Sara Price3:44.063
542XITE Energy Racing9:17.403Tamara Molinaro3:39.375Oliver Bennett3:41.332
655ACCIONA | Sainz XE Team9:21.355*Laia Sanz3:42.877Carlos Sainz3:32.060
758McLaren XE9:26.979Emma Gilmour3:56.431Tanner Foust3:34.339
8125ABT CUPRA XE9:50.385Jutta Kleinschmidt3:44.718Nasser Al-Attiyah4:05.954
922JBXE10:04.367Kevin Hansen3:40.931Molly Taylor4:28.392
105Veloce Racing9:14.817 (DNF)Lance Woolridge3:33.010Christine GZ1:56.050
* – Received a penalty
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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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